Shopcouver: An Insider’s guide to Shopping in Vancouver

Vancouver Skyline with BC Place Stadium Photo credit: Albert Normandin/Tourism Vancouver
Vancouver Skyline with BC Place Stadium Photo credit: Albert Normandin/Tourism Vancouver

Guest Post By: Miranda Sam, founder Style by Fire

Not even five years ago, when “Vancouver” and “fashion” were used in the same sentence, Goretex would have been thrown in the mix — okay, and maybe Lululemon too. But times sure have changed, and soon enough, Vancouver just may take over Toronto as the Canadian city with the most fashion flagships. Whether or not this city wins yet another title to stack on top of its Most Livable City awards, here are the three most iconic Vancouver neighbourhoods with amazing fashion boutiques.

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Chic boutique Rowan Sky

Gastown Shop Hop

At the top of our list is Gastown, a historic neighbourhood that can claim to be the 4th most stylish city in the world according to Complex.com. Some of the best Gastown boutiques include One of a Few where you can find the best indie Brooklyn brands. It’s also one of the handfuls of places in Vancouver to get Rachel Comey shoes, because every girl needs a pair of Rachel’s Mars boots, the epitome of effortless dressing.

Another favourite for shoes is Rowan Sky, where you’ll find a great mix of casual shoes for both men and women. Gastown is also the neighbourhood cult-favourite Oak+Fort established its first store, winning the hearts of women who opted for a more relaxed, minimal, and neutral palette. On the other end of the spectrum is the high-end concept store, Secret Location. Part lifestyle boutique, and part restaurant, it’s where you’d want to go grab fruit-topped foie gras after scoping out vintage Chanel handbags. Another must-check-out café is Timbertrain, where they roast their own coffee beans and carefully craft the drinks with a slow, methodical technique.

49th Parallel Coffee & Lucky's Donuts: shop fuel
49th Parallel Coffee & Lucky’s Donuts: shop fuel

Kitsilano Shop Wonder

In a recent poll conducted by TEDxVancouver, attendees named Kitsilano as the neighbourhood that best represented Vancouver to them. But really, who can deny its stretch of beautiful beaches, plethora of yoga studios, and the city’s first Whole Foods? The de facto representative of Vancouver life is home to JNBY, an architecturally-driven clothing company that’s big in China but little known in North America. Though its pieces retail in the mid-hundreds, the store often has sales, so watch out for those opportunities. Insider’s tip: if there isn’t sale signage, ask the store staff anyway for unadvertisted sales. If you’re in Kits, you’ll need to pick up some stylish activewear. Stop by the original Lululemon store or Public Myth (an edgier stretchy pants brand) for your yoga gear. As for runners, visit the new Vancouver Running Co, designed like the Apple store of running gear. In between all the shopping, sip on some coffee and snack on Lucky’s Donuts at 49th Parallel. If you’re really missing home, there’s a Gravity Pope on West 4th Ave.

Apres shopping scene: craft brews on the patio
Apres shopping scene: craft brews on the patio

The Yaletown Shop Hustle

Last but not least is Yaletown, a former industrial land, now home to yuppies and yuccies, most of who live within walking distance to the False Creek shore. Though Yaletown’s appeal is more lifestyle than fashion, but don’t be fooled as there are quite a few cool boutiques. Fine Finds lifestyle store has been a go-to boutique for 15 years. It was a lifestyle store before the term existed, and offers a carefully curated mix of Vancouver designers like Jason Matlo. If you’re into luxe for less, one of the most popular consignment boutiques in the past two years has been Mine & Yours. This little gem offers brands like Chanel, Acne, Celine, Balenciaga, and more for a fraction of the sticker price. The Cross is one of the best places in the city to find Instagram-worthy home décor, but shopping-wise, it also offers one of the biggest selections of jewelry by local designer Leah Alexandra. Check out her popular ear crawlers and pendant necklaces adored by celebs like Jessica Alba and Reese Witherspoon. And nothing beats ending a day of Yaletown retail therapy with a coffee and croissant at the beautiful Small Victory Bread & Coffee. Or if something a little stronger is needed, hop over to Yaletown Brewing which carries local craft beer and spirits.

** Miranda-Sam-headshot-sqA big thanks to Miranda Sam for her guest post. Sam is the editor of Style by Fire. She absolutely loves shopping, retail, fashion, and has been featured on CTV on different occasions to share her expertise. Her fashion guilty pleasures include MAC lipsticks and Saffiano leather. Tweet her @StylebyFire or find her on Instagram.

3 thoughts on “Shopcouver: An Insider’s guide to Shopping in Vancouver

  1. Yaas! I so need this. I’m headed to Vancouver end of March and I’m a shopaholic at heart. Appreciate these tips and wondering if there’s any rad GF bakeries or healthy-ish places with quality ingredients (like Edmonton’s Duchess) in this neighbourhoods.

    1. The Gluten Free Epicurean in Mount Pleasant on Kingsway is great for GF treats and a couple doors down from Matchstick Coffee (hipsters Ga-lore) plus a couple little kiddo craft places and Spool of Thread sewing/fabric shop. For decadent, French-style treats try Beaucoup Bakery in Kitsilano or Cadeaux in Gastown. Sounds like a fun trip!

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